The End of Eddy

The End of Eddy is a heartfelt, autobiographical play based on the book En Finir avec Eddy Bellegueule by Édouard Louis, in which the author shares experiences of his difficult youth growing up in a working class family in a village in Northern France and his struggle coming to terms with his sexuality. This piece is brought to us by Unicorn Theatre and Untitled Projects and the story of Eddy is skilfully told by two talented young actors Alex Austin and Kwaku Mills.

A raw and tender coming of age play that unlocks a number of important issues.

The play feels like a Sparknotes re-enactment of the book with Mills and Austin breaking down and analysing the story at different intervals. It is pitched to a teenage audience and as I was sat amongst a group of high school students with their teacher, I can confirm the play was very accessible and relatable for this age group. The staging is simple but effective with four television screens in the foreground and a bus stop in the background cleverly sign-posted to track Eddy’s journey from Abbeville to Hallencourt to Amiens. The television screens serve a number of purposes; they voice different characters and are height adjustable and act as an audio visual narrative throughout.

Violence, poverty, shame and pride are the key themes in this piece and Austin and Mills share Eddy’s story with compassion and sensitivity. From dealing with bullies at school, to being shamed by his father and brother for not being a ‘real’ man, to re-enacting porn scenes with his cousin, to collecting store credit on behalf of his family, the two actors bring these scenes to life. Shame comes in many forms for Eddy, shame over his own sexuality and desires, shame from feeling alienated from his peers for being different and shame over the poverty he has been brought up in.

Class and social mobility are also themes in this play and thankfully Édouard Louis’s story continues onto a happier chapter. This is a raw and tender coming of age play that unlocks a number of important issues and has the ability to touch and move audience members of every age, class and gender.

Reviews by Lynn Rusk

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The Blurb

'My crime wasn't doing something. My crime was being something. Being different in a way everyone else could see.'

Born into poverty in an isolated village in rural France, a boy grows up amongst hard men and women living hard and violent lives. Relentlessly bullied for being gay, this is the story of Eddy’s struggle to understand who he is, who he might become, and his fight to escape.

Written when he was just 21 and combining vivid storytelling with frank reflections on sexuality, class and power, Édouard Louis’ acclaimed autobiographical novel of hope, love, lust and anger is both unflinchingly honest and hugely entertaining. This new stage adaptation is a co-production from London’s Unicorn Theatre, the UK’s leading theatre for young audiences, and Scotland’s pioneering Untitled Projects’ team where it reunites visionary Scottish director, designer Stewart Laing and writer Pamela Carter whose Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner was part of the 2015 International Festival.

★★★★ 'actors win our trust with their vigour, empathy and theatrical inventiveness' The Guardian

★★★★ 'a challenging, unconventional, highly distinctive rethink of Louis’ work' The Arts Desk

★★★★ 'the richness of the detail with which it is told offers some unforgettable insights' The Scotsman

★★★★ The Herald

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Based on the book by Édouard Louis

Pamela Carter Adaptation
Stewart Laing Director

Alex Austin Performer
Kwaku Mills Performer

More information about some of the artists:

Unicorn Theatre
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Untitled Projects
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Stewart Laing

Pamela Carter